There are two in-game concepts called Poise.

  • The player has the stat Poise, which is obtained from Armor, the Lothric Knight Long Spear, Yhorm's Greatshield and the Wolf Ring.
  • And the hidden value "poise health" that determines when your "hyperarmor frames" are interrupted.
    The visible stat Poise acts as a defense stat for this poise health, reducing how much poise damage is inflicted by enemy attacks.

The stagger resistance given by the skills Unfaltering PrayerPerseverance, Stone Flesh, and the pyromancy Iron Flesh are unaffected by your Poise stat. These have their own independent "poise health". The Great Hammer version of Perseverance, however, does activate the player's poise.

 

 The ability to withstand attacks without breaking form 

How Poise Works

In a nutshell, you are only able to resist stagger during "hyperarmor" frames, and your Poise stat determines how many attacks you can take before you can be staggered out of hyperarmor frames. Because hyperarmor frames are not fully uninterruptible and use Poise to determine whether or not you can be interrupted, it would be more accurate to call them "active poise". In the game's code, the supposedly deactivated value for poise is in fact activated during animations with active poise.

All characters using the player model, including the player character, most NPCs, and non-player invaders, have a hidden poise health of 100. All attacks that hit the character will reduce this value, and when the value reaches 0 the character will be staggered regardless of whether or not they are in the middle of an attack with poise frames. The stat Poise will reduce how much poise damage a weapon inflicts to this poise health, by a percentage equal to the amount of Poise. Your Poise stat is always passively reducing incoming poise damage, whether or not you are using an attack with active poise. However, you are only able to resist stagger during active poise, and at any other time you can be staggered regardless of how much poise health you have left.

Furthermore, all attacks and actions with active poise will give a multiplier to your current poise health (usually negative), allowing you to take more or fewer hits before being staggered. The modifiers for normal R1 and R2 attacks on weapons with active poise were greatly reduced in the 1.08 patch, to the point where characters need very high poise to resist stagger from one or two attacks now. However, as of the 1.08 patch, attacks with active poise will now automatically refresh your poise health back to 80% of full after modifiers. For example, if you are using a Greataxe weapon (maximum poise health for R1 is 27) and you have 0.1 poise health before the attack, then as soon as your attack starts your poise will instantly reset to 21.6.  What this means is you can now resist stagger from one or two attacks every time you attack, which allows tanky, high poise builds to play much more aggressively. Weapon arts with active poise have much higher modifiers than normal attacks do, being anywhere from 0.30 to 2.00 vs 0.10 to 0.27, and weapon arts will refresh your poise health back to 100% of full instead of 80%. Attacks that are blocked by a shield do not reduce your poise health at all.

Your poise health does not regenerate, but will immediately refresh back to 100% every 30 seconds or when it's reduced to 0, whichever comes first. In addition, the 1.08 patch made it so that your poise health resets to 80% of full whenever you use a normal attack with active poise and to 100% of its full value whenever you use a weapon art with active poise.

To use poise, you need to know these things: how much poise damage your opponent's attacks deal, what the poise health of your attacks is, and how much Poise from armor you need to reduce your opponent's poise damage far enough to not drop your poise health to zero. In addition, since your poise health resets back to 80% with every normal attack, it would also be helpful to have enough poise so that 20.01% of your poise health is left over, as this will allow you to resist stagger through your opponent's attack every time you attack. For weapons that only have active poise during their weapon arts, this is less important since weapon arts reset poise health back to 100% instead of 80%.

Active poise is found on certain weapon attacks including, but not limited to, Ultra Greatsword, Greathammer, and Greataxe R1s, Greatsword two-handed R1s, fully charged R2 attacks, most Weapon Skills, and the medium and heavy rolls. The 1.08 patch also gave active poise to two-handed Hammer attacks. Testing is still ongoing to determine which attacks have poise frames and what their poise multipliers are.

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/4vnan9/how_poise_works/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ru20/how_poise_works_in_108/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ppik/hard_data_about_poise/

 

Stat Poise Information

Each piece of armor has a Poise rating, and your total Poise is the sum of each of your armor pieces. Naked characters have 0 Poise. In general, wearing heavier or more protective armor increases Poise.

As of patch 1.07. the Poise formula seems to reduce the effects of poise for armor and rings added once the player has any poise. Every piece added that increases poise will be subjected to the following formula:

    

 

So if adding the Wolf Ring (12.5 poise) on a character with 10 poise:

Weapons & Poise Damage

Information via Gamefaqs (Some values were changed in the 1.08 patch and may no longer be accurate. They will be updated as soon as the new values are found.)

 Trivia

For a long time, it was believed that the poise stat either didn't work or was intentionally disabled on release, due to a player finding a value in the game's code that determined whether or not poise was active and seeing that the value was 'off' by default. It was later discovered by other people that this value was only turned on during what was thought to be hyperarmor frames at the time, and that poise damage is constantly being calculated at all times but you are only able to resist stagger during attacks or actions with hyperarmor frames.

Boulder Heave is unique among spells in that it also inflicts poise damage. If an opponent is struck by the debris, it will deal a large amount of poise damage. However, spells and skills that cause knockdown do not take poise into account.

Enemies that do not use the player model, such as Darkwraiths, Silver Knights, and Black Knights, do not follow the same rules for poise that the player character and NPCs do.




    • Anonymous

      05 Nov 2019 17:37  

      I think this poise system is the best. I've recently played all of the games in the series and this was the best use of poise. In ds1, it was annoying as some of the main builds were a heavy armour, FaP ring, havels ring, some strength weapon or a fast dex weapon. Ds2 was similar but was better since weight load and stamina were separate stats you had to level up individually. This made poise a stat you sought out rather than one you go with since you happened to make endurance a high stat when you wanted more stamina. Ds3 made poise something that you had to put thought into. Should you tank the hit and trade or should you dodge? Can you even trade? If you used poise, you put thought into the attacks and didn't just tank the hits and then attack once they were out of stamina.

      • Anonymous

        21 Sep 2019 04:19  

        Poise in this game isnt the same as in Dark Souls and just cause it isnt doesnt mean it doesnt exist. Can't people not *****ing understand

        • Anonymous

          09 Sep 2019 13:20  

          i seriously think that ALL weapons should have SONE SORT of active poise on heavy attacks. cosplaying as a lothric knight, charging a heavy attack with the straight sword, just feels STUPID to be stunned out by being smacked from a guy with a dagger...like, come on. At least make poise usable with all weapons to some extent and not just the big ones, because it's just encouraging more people to use them. There wouldn't be so many R1 spammers around if R2's were made just a LITTLE bit safer to use, at least.

          • Anonymous

            06 Sep 2019 15:27  

            This is why i use CE and turn on the 100% non-stagger script when i'm using heavy armor, get *****ed From with your stupid bs of poise. Mind you i'm just playing off-line with the Cinders mod though, so don't get mad, i don't do PvP.

            • Anonymous

              17 Jul 2019 03:29  

              Stop making novels in the comment section about how poise is bad, lol, go to a feedback forum to complain and not a wiki

              • Anonymous

                06 Jul 2019 19:22  

                why does no one understand poise alredy? stop being a scrub and don't expect poise to work as something that doesn't let you stagger while you are r1 spamming with a estoc or a lothric knight straight sword. poise works incredible on this game with the hyper armor system. let's say you have an incredible big ass sword and you only have some robes of course you are going to get staggered but if you have poise you have hyper armor wich let's you trade with a lot of weapons depending on your current poise. BUT the little problem is that you need to hit The oponent before he lands you the hit, etc wich is *****ed by the net code OR your current internet. you can win against someone with 22 poise if you have 30 or 40, it cost's yeah but the two hits you can do with your GREAT weapon or your ULTRA weapon will be worthy if you have actual AR and VIGOR/VITALITY (health u language scrub) poise on this game is now trading wich works incredible if you have high poise health (38 - 45), a good amount of hp (1.2,3,4k), nice AR (wich you get from an ultra/great weapon or axe) and if you are two handing it. The cost is probably kinda high sometimes but when you find that classic robes guy or a normal armored guy you can trade and deal some good damage you know. I think this system is good and balances the game a bit more but the lag *****s up when you see that your target is going to hit but he alredy hitted you 2 or 3 times. Another little advantage is that you have a 50/50 chance to not recieve 2 chained hits from a small weapon (or a bit bigger i think) like a ss, estoc, etc. it's sad that the wolf ring doesn't give you 20 poise at least but with this they try to ¨balance¨ the game so only those who actually invest on vitality get rewarded with this hyper armor system.

                • Anonymous

                  22 Apr 2019 13:19  

                  Ok. everyone. Here’s the deal. POISE WORKS DIFFERENTLY IN THIS GAME. Ok, do we understand yet? Even after 3 friggin years? nope? well*****. let me clear this up a little further then... Play DS3 for the game that it is, not the game you want it to be. luckily, in DS3, outside obvious “look at the cool frozen sword and hooded jacket armor I found” noob build, the poise system in this game has led to a fairly wide amount of build variety. In DS1, however “Playing the game for the game that it is” led to, well, 99 out of 100 players being some variation of “Giant Dad.” That gets old.... pretty fast. Probably why I can still find an invasion in DS3 pretty quick, but not so much in D1 remastered nowadays (both on ps4, which is why it’s the remaster for any dumbasses out there about comment “ iTs cUz rEmasTereD... derrr pLaY PTD edItIon w/ DS Fix” Me=no have pc) i’ll take variety over being able to mash r1 with a claymore just cuz i put points in 1 STAT to raise both stamina and carry weight. As someone who played DS1 after the others cuz, again, only got a ps4, I found DS1 poise made the PVE and PVP pretty damn easy for the most part. Now, as the first comment laments, sure you can still get stun locked in havels, but you can also roll for days now, and walk while Did they nail it 100%? probably not. personally i think some sort of mixture between what they have now and the slightly more understated poise in Ds2 would be the best for any future games in this genre. At any rate, they must have done something right, as its infinitely more fun to watch DS3 than DS1, even more-so than watching DS2.At least high level play in DS3 isn’t 100% percent dependent on glitches, etc. which sure, one can “git gud” at, but as far as PVP is concerned, I think most people would rather improve their skills with intended mechcanics. wow. that was a long rant. tl:dr DS3 poise IS “working as intended.”. if you like DS1 so much, why don’t you marry it? (or just play it instead? maybe?) git gud, yadda yadda, hand wave with an eye roll and a sigh. kids today. sheesh (p.s. to the one doofus in the comments who called DS3 poise “lazy....” Inigo Montoya put it best, “ you keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means..” how anyone can look at all the above calculations needed to understand this system, that only turns on when the player is in an active state, i.e. attacking, vs “ you have a poise stat, bigger number equals less stagger. always” is lazy... well that is beyond me) have a nice day ;) Also ds3 pvp is infin

                  • Anonymous

                    31 Mar 2019 09:24  

                    I just started playing DS3 and felt something wasn't right. Now I see. This completely ruins the game for my playstyle. DS2 did the same thing with other stats that ruined it. I hope we get a Demon Souls remake. Until then I can still go back to DS.

                    • Anonymous

                      04 Mar 2019 22:22  

                      can they rename this already as its not poise. ds3 does not have poise. it has hyperarmor and a little hyper armor shield. thats it. i want my poise back. used to love rocking havel and powering through almost any attack. poor decision to remove poise.

                      • Anonymous

                        05 Feb 2019 00:05  

                        I am among a small set of people that is actually affected by poise in DS3. It has a very narrow use, and it is an uncommon playstyle that uses it. For lack of a better explanation, Poise determines how well you can turtle poke during an enemy attack. That is, attack while blocking with a shield simultaneously. In this case literally blocking the attack while yours is going out. Now, how do I know this? I figured this out very early on in the game. I am typically a greatshield/spear user, but figuring out that poise functioned nothing like it did in the previous games reinforced my playstyle since I want to attack while being attacked and not be punished for it. Right, so, moving on. I figured "well*****, I can just wear light armor and roll around like an idiot if I can just hide behind my shield with my spear." but you can **NOT** do that. See, poise affects principally whether you will be staggered out of an attack while hiding behind a shield or not. The higher the poise, the bigger the poise damage you can take before you're staggered out of the attack. More on that point, you can't freely turtle poke in DS3, it does cause damage through your shield if you do it simultaneously. It's much less than you'd take otherwise, but you still take damage while doing it. Then I started putting the pieces together. Strongest greatshield in the game (give or take?) Yhorm's, and it increases poise. The one weapon in the game that increases poise? Lothric Knight long spear. Conclusion? It's for turtle poking, and basically nothing else.

                        • Anonymous

                          09 Jan 2019 05:39  

                          TL;DR - only Hyper Armor activates Poise. That means if you're performing actions that have 0 hyper armor, you will get staggered no matter what you do. Hyper Armor is the***** that turns Poise ON. It's not like DS1 Poise that just made you less likely to be staggered by default. In DS3, you need to use your actions with hyper armor frames in order to make that poise do it's job. Besides, the in-game poise stat just refers to reduced poise damage received (percentage %) so if you have 35.4 poise it means 35.4% reduced poise damage received, which means, while you have hyper armor and you're trading hits with your opponent, it's very likely the one with less poise is the one that it's going to get interrupted/staggered first since it's getting his "poise health" hidden bar destroyed much faster. But there is still a couple of stuff that needs more testing...

                          • Anonymous

                            15 Dec 2018 01:27  

                            40+ poise and using a weapon that not only many claim has hyperarmor but also Perseverance. Still staggered in any and all attack animations for the weapon. And if you are curious as to what weapon it is vordt's greathammer. And yes before coming here to post about poise just not working i checked through forums and many of them claim that vordt's greathammer has hyperarmor and according to this page itself greathammers are among things with active poise but i sure as hell don't notice a difference wether my poise is 40+ or 10 and under while using weapons claiming to have active poise here and in the comments.

                            • Anonymous

                              02 Nov 2018 16:03  

                              I wish poise was something more people actually understood. In DS3, poise acts to increase your ability to continue through your combo via hyper armor. So an example, if I'm using the Greatsword and I'm walking through one of its many combos and my opponents start hitting me with a sword, my poise determines how many of those hits it takes for my guy to stop walking through the combo. This is absolutely ESSENTIAL for strength builds. I always cosplay as Guts from Berserk and using the greatsword is impossible without a decent amount of poise, with my armor (which is fashion souls) and wolf ring +3, I can hyper armor through my combo against almost all PvP opponent's and most bosses. Invasions become a piece of cake when you know what to do with those hyper armor frames and the threshold it takes to plow through them.

                              • Anonymous

                                18 Oct 2018 12:47  

                                I think i actually knows why miyazaki nerfed ds3 poise. I mean, just imagine havels running with dark sword plus real poise, this would outdamage any kind of ugs/magic and plop

                                • Anonymous

                                  16 Oct 2018 04:33  

                                  I feel like it would have been better if like. Getting hit by a super big weapon wouldn’t ALWAYS ensure a second hit. It really puts the entire game in favor of STR builds, since most DEX weapons can’t hold another player still for more than a single hit (except Farron GS or Carthus Curved GS, but those are still heavy weapons). Just once, I want to have fun with a weapon like the Crow Talons or maybe even a whip, but their short range coupled with their low stagger really reduces the odds of success against a longer ranged ultra. Balanced, my ass.

                                  • Anonymous

                                    01 Oct 2018 14:22  

                                    Simply put, poise just prevents your attacks from being interrupted. The reason for this being a mystery for so long? People were over acclimated to the previous mechanics, and thought it'd apply the same in this game; a psychological glitch resulting from associative memory, and hardwired expectations that result in an inflexible ability to readapt. Previously, it just prevented any flinching regardless of whether you were standing, moving or attacking. And, considering the difficultly of Dark Souls, it was very important to memorize small mechanics to the point of instinct. Naturally, still packing the Havel's myself for the poise. But also making sure to not just stand still. Remember, only when your weapon starts swinging forward will it activate. And even then, it may be broken if a sufficiently powerful weapon hits.

                                    • Anonymous

                                      16 Sep 2018 17:09  

                                      poise does not work unless you are a black knight AI, i was wearing full havel armor and got pancaked to the ground by a silver knight with a straight sword

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